How long to cook beef stew in crock pot on low?

September 26th, 2011

Why does my beef stew always come out tough and chewy. I buy really good stew meat and I brown the meat first. Then I put in crock pot with some veggies, water and gravy for 5 hours on low…

What am I doing wrong? I just bought really good meat and its been only cooking for 3 hours and ALREADY its tough and chewy – am I cooking it too long?

you may have "browned" your stew meat a llittle to much. try searing it on a fry pan. you dont need to cook it thru.. just enough to caramelize the surface of the meat to give it a nice hearty aroma. As for cooking… start timing when you see little bubbles rising, this means that your stew is at it’s cooking temperature, you can start at high and when you see those tiny bubbles, switch it back to low. Depending on what you added to your concoction
to facilitate the tenderization of your stew, 6-8 hrs of cooking gives the best result in terms of flavor and aroma of your stew. All of the soup stocks used by the restaurants are simmered for hrs and hrs to release the wonderful flavors of the bones and meat to their stock.
Lastly, as an added tip, you also have to consider the size of you crock pot, adding to much liquid to your stew would ruin it in terms of taste and flavor. Rule of the thumb in using crock pot…
"The lesser liquid you use in covering up your stew.. the better"

12 Responses to “How long to cook beef stew in crock pot on low?”

  1. TX2step

    It needs to be totally covered in liquid, or it will get tough & chewy where it’s out of liquid. Next time, add some beer as the liquid, since alcohol is a meat tenderizer. I’d do it on low for about 6-8 hours…..
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  2. PianoPirate

    The longer you cook it the more tender it will be. I cook mine on high for 3 hours then turn it down and let it cook for another 3.
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  3. IJToomer

    IDK. I put roasts in with veggies and a packet of seasoning (with water) from McCormicks, and usually let it go all day (8-10 hours) and it comes out tender as can be.
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  4. snarf

    Not cooking it long enough…sometimes I cook mine all day or 8 hours. In the end it will come out tender but it does take time. You can always cook it on high with the crock pot…could be done in as little as 5 or 6 hours.
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  5. Shauna O

    No. When cooking beef stew, the beef gets tough first and then the longer it cooks, it gets softer. I would say you have about a good 2-3 hours to go. Don’t turn the crock pot on high though, it will change the temp of the beef and may stay tough. Just be patient and it WILL get softer… good luck.
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  6. ahartzler

    I agree with the first poster. Add some beer and cook longer. You may want to add the faster cooking veggies later so they don’t turn to mush.
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  7. ஐJεssicα m-sஐ

    i cook mine on high for 4 then turn it down for 2. Make sure all the meat is underwater and you can let it cook on low for a longer time and it will get even softer. oh yea and i have never browned the meat before either.
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  8. joeschlobotnic

    It may well be that your crock pot is cooking things at too hight a temp. What you might do is get a thermometer something like this:

    http://www.sears.com/shc/s/p_10153_12605_00804126000P?vName=Appliances&cName=Cookware,Bakeware&Gadgets&sName=Cooking%20Tools%20&%20Gadgets&psid=FROOGLE01&sid=IDx20070921x00003a

    leave the probe in and check the temp every hour or so. If it registers more than about 115 degrees F, turn the pot off and let it sit off for another hour, then back on. Obviously you cannot do that if you have to set your pot and are gone all day long. IF the temperature is the problem, you might want to check on getting a new pot.
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  9. Jill M

    Beef Stew needs to cook longer than 5 hrs in my experience. I generally buy a pot roast and cut it into chunks, brown off in olive oil seasoned with salt pepper and fresh minced garlic.

    Then I put it in the crockpot – cover with water – add 4-6 (depending on size of crock pot) beef bouillion cubes in it. Then I add my potatoes, onions, carrots, celery and usually some froz mixed vegetables -abt a cup or two.

    Cover and let stand in fridge til next morning. Then turn on low and let it start cooking at around 7 a.m. -give or take an hr- let it cook til you eat supper. I do add 1 cup of cold water plus 3 heaping Tblspoons of cornstarch mixed well with no lumps about 1 hr before we eat.

    I think browning the bits of stew meat or roast off (called braising) -just so outside is lightly browned and inside still raw, gives it better flavor. I also quite often saute my vegetables a bit.

    Try letting it cook all day and see how it turns out for you then. Also do not add the thickening or gravy mix until an hr before serving. Do try the bouillion.

    Good luck!!
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  10. ♥Ginny♥Fan♥

    Nope not too long. Not long enough. Cook it on low at least 8 hours.
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  11. WomanWhoReads

    You could drizzle the beef with 1 tablespoon of any kind of vinegar before cooking? And add some wine or beer to the gravy.
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  12. piong

    you may have "browned" your stew meat a llittle to much. try searing it on a fry pan. you dont need to cook it thru.. just enough to caramelize the surface of the meat to give it a nice hearty aroma. As for cooking… start timing when you see little bubbles rising, this means that your stew is at it’s cooking temperature, you can start at high and when you see those tiny bubbles, switch it back to low. Depending on what you added to your concoction
    to facilitate the tenderization of your stew, 6-8 hrs of cooking gives the best result in terms of flavor and aroma of your stew. All of the soup stocks used by the restaurants are simmered for hrs and hrs to release the wonderful flavors of the bones and meat to their stock.
    Lastly, as an added tip, you also have to consider the size of you crock pot, adding to much liquid to your stew would ruin it in terms of taste and flavor. Rule of the thumb in using crock pot…
    "The lesser liquid you use in covering up your stew.. the better"
    References :

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